Two conversations over the past month have left me shaking my head in disbelief. Both represent situations where collaboration technology is generally (and cost-effectively) available to support the business activity being performed, and the organizations involved should be doing better than they are.
The first conversation was with an insurance broker. After the Christchurch earthquake, various items in my office were damaged, and I had to call to get it sorted it out. The person I spoke with intimated that she was tracking all conversations related to all claims in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, but she was beginning to see it groan under the weight of what she was using it for. With multiple people in the office, multiple clients calling in, and multiple claims being discussed, surely Excel is the wrong tool for the job. How about:
– a wiki, with a page per client or claim.
– a SharePoint site, with a list of current claims and discussions related to the claim.
– a Lotus Notes database.
– a Central Desktop workspace.
– … and many other technology options.
Of course, trying to set this up in the face of the tsunami of demands after an earthquake is daunting, but … why wasn’t it done before? Why isn’t this a core business system?
The second conversation was with a vendor of SharePoint-related products. My client was trying to get information from them, but hadn’t heard back. I stepped in, wrote to the top person, and asked for current status. He said he didn’t know about the client, nor previous interactions. He did offer a phone call, but he didn’t have visibility into the previous interactions. I shake my head in disbelief … hasn’t this problem been solved? E.g., a shared repository of customer data and interactions, that every one in the organization can access. Again, why isn’t this a core business system?
It doesn’t sound like a user adoption challenge either … the systems are apparently not available in the first place. Perhaps I expect too much.